"Joy is the simplest form of gratitude"- Karl Barth
If happiness is an outward expression of elation, joy is an extreme, lasting inner peace. I like to think of joy as the broth of a soup. We can add a whole range of emotions to season our joy but under all the spices, we need a good broth to make a tasty meal.
Your access to joy never vanishes. Joy is foundational, and once you have accessed it every other emotion can rest on top of it without your joy diminishing.
"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." - Thich Nhat Than
Think of a list of times when you bring joy to your life.
And then a list of potential joy zappers.
HOWEVER I would challenge you to think outside the box and imagine scenarios where the potential joy zappers could actually bring joy.
I crash my car. I can be angry and frustrated that I have to go through an insurance claim which might raise my premiums and cause a great deal of inconvenience OR I could be happy since I have always secretly hated my mini-van and here's my chance to get a new car. Neither response is more correct than the other. Ultimately WE control our reaction and response to anythying in our life. So why not imagine a way to look at potential joy zappers in a positive light? Take control of your own joy!
"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." - Buddha
"JOY" reading List
Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough- Kay Warren
Happiness Is A Choice- Barry Neil Kaufman
The Ultimate Happiness Prescription- Deepak Chopra
The Happiness Project- Michelle Rubin
The Myths of Happiness- Sonja Lyubomirsky
Flourish - Martin Seligman
Stumbling Upon Happiness- Daniel Gilbert
The Mini-Retreat Solution- Julia James
As children, we are educated out of our ability to SELF-TRUST. We begin life knowing why we do the things we do. "Why did you take that cookie?" "Beacuse I wanted it." Simple, right? But as we begin to grow we are told to sit at desks EVEN when we don't want to, to eat our vegtables EVEN when they taste bad or to clean out rooms EVEN when we could be outside playing. So we learn gradually that quite often the things that we WANT are the WRONG choices. As we enter out teen years we learn that pleasing our peers is more important than pleasing our teachers or our parents. And by the time we are in our twenties if you ask " Why did you take that cookie?" it is no longer simple to answer. Did we want it? Did we take it beacuse all our friends took one? Did we take it beacuse we knew our mom said not to eat the cookies? What was once a straightforward answer has, over time, become blurred.
So how do we turn up the volme on our inner-compass and begin relearning how to recognize what we want?
First let's examine your current pattern of decision making. Are you decisive or do you have trouble making decisions. Do you go with your gut or write a list of pros and cons? Is your current method working for you? An interesting study on effective choice making indicated that when making SMALL choices like which toothpaste or which running shoes, list making was the most effective way to get the best result however when making BIG decsions we actaully have better outcomes when we go with our first instinct.
BE CLEAR on what you want.
MOVE TOWARDS what you want rather than away from what you don't want.
DO YOU FEEL GOOD about your decision after you have made it?
GATHER EVIDENCE to support your belief that this choice was perfect for you.
And as Dr. Joyce Brother's said "Trust your hunches. They are usually based on facts filed just below the conscious level.
In this busy world of ours, we sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of work and family and hobbies and exercise and eating right and cleaning the house and walking the dog and...and...and!
It is incredibly important to keep our focus on enjoying the journey. On being joyful. On living a happy life.
Here are my "shortcuts to happiness". Remember; it's not a long trip. You only need to decide to be happy, and then you are.
1) Gratitude- be thankful. Taking time to count your blessings and to see the glass as half full really hi-lights all the things we have to be happy about.
2) Be present. The future is uncertain and we cannot change the past. Living in the present is our only opporunity to create the life we want. Why waste any of that precious time on worry or regret.
3) Spend time in nature. Sit on the beach. Walk in the forest. Get on the rooftop and watch the stars. Finding the awe inspiring beauty of our world.
4) Spend time with happy people. The attitude is contagious. Find friends who inspire you. Leave behind the complainers and the gossips.
5) Be A Part of Something Bigger. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Collect money for a charity. Sponsor a foster child. March for a cause. Feeling connected feels good!
6) Meditate. The brain produces dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin & endorphins when you are in a meditative state...Google it. These things all contribute to the physiology of happiness.
7) Fake It Until You Make It. Studies have shown that people who concentrate on having a smile on their face actually become happier.
8) Learn Something New. Try a hobby or sport or enroll in a course. Feeling fresh, connected, and successful all contribute to our sense of self.
9) Dance, Be Silly, Have Fun Life is too short to be all serious and worried. The only thing we know about this life is that no one gets out alive; so while you are here live fully!